Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year from El Paso! (December 25th-31st)

Sorry this is so late, Winter Break got crazy and I forgot to update Emily's blog! Her is her last letter:

This past week has been interesting and a real test of my patience.  The car was still in the shop and we had communication problems with the ward mission leader, but as the new year is starting tomorrow, things will continue to work out.  A lesson learned over and over in the mission is that things always happen for a reason.  Always.  We just need to have faith that we are following God's plan and that we are doing everything we should be doing for everything else to work out.
So car was in the shop and so we needed to depend on other sister missionaries to help us get around.  And so it was a good day, but really unproductive and so we don't really want to do that again (though we are today... elders have our car...).  Christmas eve was spent with a family in the ward and it was really nice.
Christmas!  It was great being able to talk to you guys!  Have talking we went to the C family for dinner and we had a great time.  At one point in time the part of the family was watching a football game(?) and the rest were talking and the missionaries were all kinda bored, but then someone came over and brought a game.  And told us we were playing Apples to Apples.  And so we couldn't really come up with a reason not to and played.  And it was a lot of fun).  And after the C's we went to the V house and had another dinner, but also a really good conversation on how as missionaries we probably won't see the fruits of our labor but we still need to focus on the work and trust in God's plan for us.  The V were the first family I ate with when I came out into the field and it was a great comparison to see how much I'd grown in 1 month just in my ability to communicate and understand.  Oh and this morning we had a gift exchange with the elders in the ward.  Elder B gave me Smalls altoids, Simply orange juice and Great brand cereal, because by small and simple things, great things come to pass (Alma 37:6) and then he gave me a missionary planner that he had decorated to match the theme.  It was really creative :)  I have pictures.
Still no car.  And our early afternoon appointments cancelled and so we walked around trying to find new people to talk to.  Dinner this night was with a less active family and they took us to a Chinese buffet.  So much food!  But it was a really good time/lesson with them because we learned so much about who they are and their family.  And in talking about goals for the new year, we learned that Hermana actually  wants to come to church again.  We always thought the push was from Hermano, so it's good to see that both have somewhat of a little desire to return. 
Still no car.  And every Friday we have district meeting at the chapel really close to our house.  So, after asking other sisters for a ride and not being able to find one, we just decided to walk.  We get to the chapel and find out, just as we get there that because of a funeral, they changed district meetings to the stake center, which is close, but not walking distance.  So we're stuck at our chapel with no way to get to the stake center.  And as we're on the phone with the zone leaders, the district leader and other sister missionaries trying to figure out how to get to district meeting.  And into the parking lot drives Hermana Va, the funeral was being held for her mother in law.  And when she sees how we're stuck, she tells us to get in the car and drives us to the stake center.  We have angels in our ward, and she is one of them.  As she drove us she says she wants to go out with us again and to let us know when we need help.  She's an angel.
We as missionaries are also really good ears.  Several appointments we had, we just went over and listened to people and tried to help them feel better.  That's one thing we've found is that even if people don't want to learn more about the Church, people really just like talking to use and telling us all they're problems because we're willing to listen.
We got the car back after dinner and I also got a bike today.  It was an old elder's bike and it's slightly smaller than the other ones, but am still looking for a bike that really fits. 
We had the car until about 6 because the elders had a baptism and needed it.  But the help of members is incredible.  Our ward covers a really big area and should really be split but we're waiting on members to pay tithing, and to reactive a lot of people.  (they need a new ward building so they need tithing to pay for it...).  We had members help us with an appointment, that fell through, so we decided to go check on a family that we haven't seen in a while.  J and Ve let us in and we had a 2 hour lesson.  Mostly it was the members talking, but it was really good because the family invited us back Sunday.
We walked to church because we had no car again.  Luckily, church was held in the normal place (no sudden changes ;)).  After church, the car was returned to us and we went about our usual day.  Except it was an "end of the rope" kind of a day.  Appointments cancelled while we were at church, no one was home, etc.  After dinner we set out again and as we were driving to the area of our 7:30 appointment, Hna Callaways says "we could try the Cr family..."  and I'm like "where do they live?"  "the opposite direction... we can try them some other time"  and as she said that, I did a U-turn and we went to go visit the Cr family.  They were home!  We had a short lesson with the mom, and she invited us over for next Monday to teach another lesson.  She says they want to come back to church and that it will be better in the near year.  It was really the spirit telling us to go because this is the family that various church leaders have requested we visit, but we have the hardest time getting a hold of them. 
After this we were driving to our 7:30 appointment and she cancels.  So we have nothing to do until our 8 appointment (J and Ve).  But we decided to find people to talk to them and it's amazing!  So we swung by A's house and try and give her a lesson, but she only has time for a short one, so we're left with more time.  And then we decided to check on investigadores and formers we haven't seen recently.  As we walk to T's apartment, we see her running out of the house because of an argument with her mother.  We were able to talk to her, share a scripture, pray, cheer her up and when we left, she felt calm enough to go back inside! It was amazing.  Then we had a lesson with a former investigator named Am, who just happened to be home.  And we set up another appointment with her this week!
And then the lesson with J and Ve went fantastic.  I'll be honest, I thought they were going to flake and not be there, but clearly I need to trust in the Lord more, because they were home and we had a most wonderful lesson!  They are waiting on an answer on what church is the one for their family to go.  They like the Mormon church but are waiting on their answer.  And we're willing to waiting with them and help them learn to search and recognize answers.  Things happen in God's time, not ours. 
Yesterday was planning, but we had a great lunch with a member from the English ward, who wants us to teach her caretaker.  She was another lady who just needed someone to listen to her, and we listened :).  And we're headed back to help her prepare for her primary lesson this week, because she had a stroke and has problems reading, and so we're going to help her read the lesson so she can prepare.
And today is p-day!  We don't have the car again, so we're tagging along with the other sisters... Hopefully it will go better than last week.  Love you all and I hope you have a wonderful new year!!  Pictures will come next week, I forgot my card reader today...

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